This weekend (18th & 19th July) saw an ex-employee of The Climbers Shop, Drew Haigh, take the trophy at the 2009 BMC British Lead Climbing Championships up in Edinburgh.
The competition, held at the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena near Ratho, featured some of the best competition climbers in the UK battle it out to scale the technically treacherous indoor wall set up for the comp. The competition took the form of two qualifying climbs followed by a final featuring the best individuals from the morning. The juniors and veterans came in form the rain on Saturday to compete in their respective comps and set a high standard for the mens and womens element that was held on Sunday.
The morning qualifying rounds proved a suitable test, with only one female completing the wall and only 5 males topping out, wheras on the second round qualifier, nobody at all completed the task! When it came to the final, the female comp ran to form. Natalie Berry, the only female competitor to top out in the mornings session took the title with Michaela Tracy and Rebecca Hall coming in a very close run second and third.
The male final was no less tense and tightly contested, with a good standard shown throughout. All this was unseen from the contestants though who were held in isolation until their climb. But even during this time, Drew felt he had an advantage
"...even when we were in isolation, I just felt that I just had the psychological advantage ... I was just really psyched ...",
and when James Garden missed the very last hold and failed to complete the pitch, this left the gate open for Drew to take the title. In true dramatic style, Drew was the very last competitor and had everything to climb for - if he could top out then essentially the title was his! After a nail biting climb, which saw him get wrong handed at one crucial point, he finally hit the top to the delight of the crowd and the biggest cheer of the day.
In his characteristic cheeky modesty, Drew had the following to say of his success
"...to be honest, I always felt like I was going to win ... I just felt stronger and fitter, maybe I'd done more training, but I was just really psyched..."
Congratulations to Drew, who now moves on from this success to Barcelona in 3 weeks time for the IFSC World Cup. Somewhere in the middle of all this, Drew has to make some time to run his chalk bag production business called OCD Climbing Designs (coming soon to our website but also visible here).
Female Juniors - Kitty Wallace
Male Juniors - Jonathan Stocking
Male Veterans - Mike Smith
Female Senior - Natalie Berry
Male Senior - Drew Haigh